On September 22nd, Senator Wyden (D-OR), Senator Feinstein (D-CA), Senator Lincoln (D-AR), and Senator Bacus (D-MT), Senator Craig (R-ID), Senator Kyl (R-AZ), Senator McCain (D-AZ), Senator Domenici (D-NM), Senator Crapo (R-ID), and Senator Cochran (R-MI) cut a deal on a new version of HR 1904.
Tom Daschle (D-SD), and Senator Johnson (D-SD) also endorsed the deal. Due to the fact that Senator Daschle decided to support the deal, many other moderate Republicans and pro-environment Senate Democrats believe that the deal is good. The problem is that the deal is worse than HR 1904, and will still fully implement President Bush's bill. The compromise language in the deal is controversial, confusing, and unclear from a legal standpoint. The new supposed old-growth protection language has loopholes that could actually increase logging in these stands, as well as in roadless areas. It places restrictions on project appeals and judicial review.
Senate leaders had planned to vote on the compromise bill this week (October 20), but Sen. Jeff Bingaman, D-N.M., has stalled its consideration, asking for a hearing on the compromise measure or a full debate on the Senate floor! Bingaman has gone out on a limb to take a stand for OUR national forests and to protect OUR public lands.
"Last week, I asked for a hearing in the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee," Bingaman said, "because this bill is very different from what the Senate Agricultural Committee approved a few months ago. I have questions about this plan, and I'd like to get answers to them before we have a full Senate vote on it."
Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist (R-Tenn.) is considering filing for cloture, which would open up 30 hours of debate if supporters can muster 60 votes. After that, another 30 hours of debate would be followed by a roll-call vote. GOP leaders had not made a decision on when to file for cloture as of today.
The delay has left proponents of H.R. 1904 anxious about the legislation's outcome given the ever-shrinking Senate calendar. Senators will go home by November 7th. Supporters of the bill believe they have the 60 votes necessary for cloture.
Bingaman needs our support as he is taking a lot of flack from the right. He would love to hear from you, and we'd appreciate it if you have the time to personally thank the Senator for helping to protect our forests.
Scott miller the forest Legislative Assistant, can be reached at 202-224-4103
You can call Jeff Bingaman's office toll free at 1-800-648-3516 OR 1-800-839-5276
Email the Senator at: firstname.lastname@example.org
Short suggested script:
" I'd like to thank Senator Bingaman for recognizing that Bush's "Healthy Forests and Restoration Act of 2003" (HR 1904) is a controversial bill that needs serious revisions, amendments, further study, and analysis. I appreciate him taking a stand for our national forests, and I support his efforts to protect OUR public lands."
For a fact sheet on HR 1904 click here. (go to http://actionnetwork.org/BIODIVERSITY/notice-description.tcl?newsletter_id=2047799
for this pdf link to work for you)
To learn more about the following issues, go the links describing
ecosystem restoration: http://www.biologicaldiversity.org/swcbd/programs/restoration/index.html